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Aluminum bridge to the future

Expert EastRussia - about aluminum prospects for the Far Eastern infrastructure

Aluminum bridge to the future
The Far East occupies about 40% of the territory of Russia, while the share of the population is only 6-7% of the population of our country, the gross regional product is about 6% of the gross domestic product of Russia.

Having a long border with China and Mongolia, ice-free seaports, two major railways - Transsib and BAM, the Far East has favorable prerequisites for active foreign trade cooperation with Asian states.

Meanwhile, despite the exceptional role of the transport network in the life of the Far East, the degree of its development leaves much to be desired. The provision of railways here is 14 km for every 10 thousand km 2 of the territory, on average in Russia - over 50 km. The density of railways is 3,5-4 times less than the national average.

Analyzing the geographical distribution of railways in the Far East, we can easily notice that they are concentrated in its southern regions - in the Khabarovsk and Primorsky Territories, the Jewish Autonomous Region, in the Amur and Sakhalin Regions. It is through them that the main flow of goods sent by enterprises of the coal, metallurgical and timber industries goes.

In addition to railways, great importance with every passing year are motor roads. The total length of motor roads in the region exceeds 78 thousand km. However, the density of highways with a hard surface is 6 less than the average for the country, and they again lie mainly in the southern part of the Far East. In all, there are three highways of federal importance in the Far East - Amur, Ussuri and Kolyma.

The role of road transport in the freight structure of the Far East is quite significant. It plays a particularly important role in Yakutia, the Magadan Region and in Kamchatka, where there are virtually no railways. Yes, and the usual roads to Muscovites with asphalt pavement are extremely few here due to the wide distribution of permafrost. Moreover, a number of districts still do not have a normal road connection with the “mainland”.

The Achilles heel of transport communication in the Far East is a relatively small number of bridges against the background of a large number of rivers and crossed in many places of relief. The construction of any bridge must take into account extremely difficult climatic and engineering-geological conditions and requires innovative design solutions, not to mention significant financial costs. Their shortage, in turn, hinders the development of the transport arteries of the Far East.

For example, five years ago, the issue of building a large bridge between the mainland and Sakhalin was discussed. The project was supposed to be in four parts. The first is the laying of a railway from the Trans-Siberian to the bridge, the second is the construction of the bridge itself, the third is the "alteration" of the railway track on Sakhalin to the all-Russian length, the fourth is the construction of a railway line between Uglegorsk and Ilyinsk. Investments in this project were then estimated at 13-14 billion dollars.

True, while he remains on paper, but actively builds a bridge across the Amur between Russia and China. His surrender is expected in the summer of next year, after which there will be a redistribution of cargo flows.

Surprisingly, aluminum can play its role in the development of transportation in the Far East. The fact is that in Russia bridges are usually built of steel and reinforced concrete and the Far East is not an exception. Abroad over the past few decades, widespread use of aluminum bridges, as pedestrian, and road and rail. They are much built in North America and Europe, today the same relay was picked up by China, whose government invests huge amounts of money in transport infrastructure.

In Russia, there are only three aluminum bridges. The first of these was built at the end of the 1960-ies. In St. Petersburg, the remaining two were installed this summer in the village Afonino Nizhny Novgorod region.

The popularity of aluminum bridges outside the Russian state is explained for quite trivial reasons: having much less weight compared to steel bridges, they are easy to transport along the road and railways, they are mounted quickly and easily, without requiring traffic cuts. They can be installed in areas with almost any climatic conditions: temperature fluctuations do not have the slightest influence on them. Plus, due to their ease, they can be placed on vibration-sensitive rocks and they are great for rough terrain, where heavy crane technology is difficult, and sometimes impossible, to adjust.

The life cycle of an aluminum bridge is a priori longer than that of a steel bridge, although it is believed that such bridges are expensive. Comparing the cost of construction and subsequent operation of aluminum and steel bridges, we will see that the bridge of the winged metal after the installation does not need to be repaired for decades due to the corrosion resistance of its elements. A steel bridge a few years after the opening may require measures for the prevention and protection against corrosion, with the passage of time its repair will become more and more expensive, ultimately resulting in a heavy burden on regional and local budgets.

Therefore, in my opinion, the construction of aluminum bridges in the Far East can not only activate local bridge construction, but also give a strong impetus to the development of transport communication in virtually all its regions. Such bridges are perfect for rural areas, where there are many small rivers and streams that turn into stormy streams in spring and cut villages and villages from each other, and in large cities. Bridges can be anything - pedestrian, road and rail (the experience of their erection in different countries of Europe, North America and Asia will be an excellent help).

And the Far East provides a wonderful field of activity for both bridge builders and manufacturers of aluminum semi-finished products.

Is not it time to start?

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